Here’s another episode of the Experience Fort Collins podcast! These are the basic show notes of what we talked about, but I certainly encourage you to give the episode a full listen to catch all of the details of our discussion.
I met up with long-time Feasting Fort Collins reader, Beth Sharp during her bartending shift at the Town Pump. We’ve known each other for years through this site and share a lot of thoughts about our local food and beverage industry.
Beth has worked in different restaurants and food-related businesses in our community over the years. She shares how awesome it is to work in a business with such a long-reaching legacy. The Town Pump is known for jello shots and moonshine, but there is also a selection of Northern Colorado craft beer, including the Town Pump Pale Ale, brewed exclusively for them by Odell. They were the first bar to ever commercially pour New Belgium’s Fat Tire. And on the weekends they sell a fantastic Bloody Mary with secret ingredients.
We go into the potential of the food and beverage industry in this town. Beth has been at the Farmhouse since they first opened, and she talks about the particular palate of the dining community.
The importance of social media for local business and specifically the food and beverage industry comes up in conversation, and how that has worked for the businesses that Beth works for.
We go into the challenges in the local food and beverage industry, one of them being that people don’t like to put their money where their mouth is. People expect high quality without being willing to pay for it. There’s a disconnect between what people want and what they’ll pay for.
It’s not possible to talk about community challenges in the food and beverage industry and within our community without talking politics. We discuss the lack of support for paying for a mental health facility in Fort Collins, and the sit-lie ban that recently went to City Council. We go into how Beth sees homeless and how it doesn’t negatively impact her personal life as an Old Town resident or the businesses she’s worked for in Old Town. Homelessness isn’t in every doorway, and Old Town does not reek of urine like other large cities who face this challenge on a larger scale.
There are negatives that come with positives, especially in any kind of growth. In our conversation, the NIMBY (not in my back yard) mentality is definitely one of the worst things about our community, along with the lack of financial support for the arts and entertainment segments, the food makers, and people who aren’t part of the tech industry.
We also bring up the challenges of the rising costs of housing, and how the working class in Fort Collins need more to be able to live here. There are multiple businesses owners in town who are having a difficult time even surviving in Fort Collins.
Some of the best parts of living in Fort Collins are the many days of sunny weather, the friendliness of many people in our city, and the beautiful views of our mountains. We’re a relatively young city starting to find their voice with an evolving culture. Younger generations are starting to take the reigns to help shape Fort Collins and instilling the values that we find important – equality, environmental sustainability, etc. There’s an optimistic future. Many of our concerns are actively being discussed in the recent Mayoral and City Council elections.
Bucket list items were next up on our topics of discussion. Beth will be moving away from Fort Collins near the end of the year and actually has a bucket list to accomplish before she leaves! The Town Pump is on her list (obviously), so is camping in Pingree and hanging out in the canyon, a bike ride on the bike paths complete with stops at breweries or distilleries, and catching some live music like at FoCoMX.
A day at home eating edibles is also on that bucket list. We go into the impact that legalization has made in Colorado and how we’ve benefitted as a community.
Final thoughts include: encouraging people to get out and try new things, and support local businesses. Spending those extra couple of dollars helps your neighbor send their kids to school, make their car payment, and stay in our community.